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UK marine energy sector advances towards commercialisation

  • Publish Date: Posted about 1 month ago
  • Author: Steve Walia

​The UK's marine energy sector is making significant strides towards commercialisation, according to Claire Mack, the Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables. Mack emphasised the pivotal role that marine energy will play in the UK's future energy system, providing a reliable and low-carbon energy source.


The sector has seen a surge in private sector interest, driven by technological advancements and increased national market exposure. Major energy companies are either developing ocean energy technologies or partnering on ongoing projects. In 2023, private investments in the sector increased by 75%.


Scotland is set to host the Ocean Energy Europe conference later this year. This event is expected to bring together key industry players to discuss strategies for creating a thriving marine energy economy, with multiple projects deployed around the UK coastline.


The next five years will see significant capacity expansions, particularly in established tidal markets. Nine tidal projects are slated for construction in European waters, principally in the UK and France. The AR4 and AR5 initiatives, as part of the government's Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme, will add 94 MW to the grid in Scotland and Wales, providing long-term revenue certainty to attract private investments.


The UK government has demonstrated strong support for tidal stream projects, allocating £30 million annually for 15 years in CfD Auction Round 5. This follows a £20 million allocation in 2022, which helped add 53 MW across 11 projects in 2023, supplementing the previously contracted 40 MW.


Additionally, Ocean Energy Europe announced that EU funding and domestic revenue support are expected to enable the deployment of 137 MW of tidal and wave energy projects over the next five years.


This progress reflects a promising future for the UK's marine energy sector, driven by innovation and robust support from both the private sector and government initiatives.